One Poem by Simon Leonard

Written in response to this month’s Special Challenge.

Coming Back as a Tourist

I know these streets from a derelict memory;
phantom ache of what I left behind.
Light spikes stab the diffuse gloom
joining dots to a foreign past.

I know the generations of stains on patient slabs;
the damp stone seems to sweat by night –
deep-breathed grime and blended urine.

I know, by morning, luminescent cleaners will arrive,
making it an acceptable transit to somewhere decent
for families;
maybe to a cathedral or museum,
or someone’s famous house.

They will allow for the rough graffiti
on the shutters of the local erotic palace;
be charmed by the bijou eatery,
and its sympathetic doorway shrubbery.

I know too well my circumstantial route
to the sparse hostal;
its owner shambles around the night
in heavy slippers.

Unlike the iron sinews of the streetlights
or shrugging shopfronts,
here I have no shadow.

A poet and intermittent writer of short fiction, Simon spends most of his time teaching English in a Secondary School in Cologne, although he would like to escape back home to Spain. He has had work published in Envoi, Orbis and Ink Sweat & Tears, and been shortlisted in various short fiction competitions.

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